Members of the Canadian Armed Forces march during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Alta., Friday, July 8, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces is facing a shortfall of several thousand troops thanks at least in part to challenges training new recruits during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces march during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Alta., Friday, July 8, 2016. The Canadian Armed Forces is facing a shortfall of several thousand troops thanks at least in part to challenges training new recruits during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Federal Budget 2021: Money promised for military sex misconduct fight, NORAD upgrades

Liberal government also sought to address another source of anger, this time from the veteran community

The federal Liberals are promising millions of additional dollars to help fight sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces as they seek to address anger and frustration over how the government and military have handled the issue.

The funding is part of a series of targeted investments for Canada’s military and those in uniform included in Monday’s federal budget, the first such spending plan from the Liberals in more than two years.

More than $77 million in new money is being added to the battle against military sexual misconduct while the government says it will be redirecting another $158 million from other parts of the Armed Forces to address the issue in the ranks.

The budget plan says the new money will be used to increase victim support services, develop new prevention training and bring in more independent oversight of the military’s handling of complaints.

But it does not say where the redirected money will come from, or what form that independent oversight might take.

The promised funds come as the government and military have rushed to respond to the anger, frustration and turmoil over recent allegations of sexual misconduct against several senior leaders of the Canadian Armed Forces.

“The government is committed to taking further action to strengthen accountability mechanisms, promote culture change in the military, and provide a safe space for survivors to report misconduct and access the services they need,” the budget plan reads.

The Liberal government also sought to address another source of anger, this time from the veteran community, which has been complaining for years about a backlog in the processing of applications for disability claims.

Advocates have warned that the backlog is forcing many at-risk veterans to wait years at times before they can access mental-health services.

The government says it is making $140 million available over the next five years so veterans can obtain such services while they wait for their disability claims to be processed. There is also money for veterans’ homelessness and retraining.

The 739-page budget document does not make any grand pronouncements or major changes to the Liberals’ plan for the military, and instead appears to reaffirm the government’s plan to continue following the defence policy it first unveiled in 2017.

That will be welcome news to the defence industry, analysts and allies given the economic damage wrought by COVID-19 and past examples of federal governments slashing military spending to help balance the budget.

Also welcome will be $163 million in dedicated funds over the next five years to start work with the United States on replacing the North American defensive system known as NORAD, which military officials and others have said is long overdue.

There is also money being set aside to keep the existing system, which was built decades ago and is long past its best-before date, up and running until it can be replaced. Analysts have suggested the full replacement will cost billions.

“These early measures will position Canada to move forward hand-in-hand with the United States on modernizing NORAD and to maintain continental defence and deterrence capabilities,” the budget plan reads.

The government is also making money available to meet a promise that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made in December 2019 to increase the number of fighter jets and warships ready to respond quickly to a request from the NATO military alliance.

The budget also confirms that the government will be extending a controversial measure designed to punish companies bidding for military contracts who have “harmed Canada’s economic interests.”

The measure was first introduced in December 2017 after Boeing filed a complaint against Bombardier. While it only applied to the $19-billion competition to buy new fighter jets, the government says it is extending it to all major military procurements.

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

2021 Federal BudgetCoronavirusfederal government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stock photo.
Grand Forks drug trafficker to be sentenced in Castlegar

Ryan Plotnikoff pleaded guilty to trafficking meth, following his November 2020 arrest by Grand Forks RCMP

Stuart Ashley Jones, 56, was at Grand Forks provincial court for sentencing on May 5, 2021. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks man shot by police during peak freshet sentenced to house arrest

Stuart Ashley Jones was shot by a Grand Forks Mountie after ramming two police cruisers in May 2018

Accused drug trafficker to plead to federal, provincial charges in June

Matthew Straume said he’d missed his last court date because he was ill

Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks sex crimes trial adjourned until summer

The trial was set to begin at the city courthouse Wednesday, May 5

Photo: Kathleen Saylors
Grand Forks city council votes down motion to support Penticton in paramountcy battle

Coun. Neil Krog insisted Penticton’s issue with Victoria is about city bylaws, not homelessness

Thursday, Feb. 4: RDKB Chief Engineer Darryl Funk hoists a banner commemorating last year’s championship season by the Bantam House Bruins. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Bantam Bruins honoured at hair-raising banner ceremony at Grand Forks’ Jack Goddard Arena

Asst. coach Mike Tollis said he reluctantly gave in to the team’s victory wish that he cut his pony tale

Junior A team Coquitlam Express is offering all Tri-City residents who get vaccinated against COVID-19 a free ticket to one of their games. (Facebook/Coquitlam Express)
B.C. hockey team offering free tickets to hometown fans who get the COVID-19 vaccine

‘We know the only way to get fans back is people getting vaccinated,’ says Express’ general manager Tali Campbell

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s latest COVID-19 restrictions cost thousands of service jobs

Part-time workers set back again by spike in virus spread

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Leaked report shows detailed B.C. COVID-19 data not being released to public

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Abbotsford school board trustee Phil Anderson has stepped down after sharing an offensive image on Facebook. (File photo)
Abbotsford trustee temporarily steps down after sharing post relating COVID masks to slavery

Phil Anderson to receive training to better understand provincial mask mandate after posting picture

B.C. announced the launch of an app May 7 that connects youth struggling with mental health and substance use with “life-saving” social services. (Screen grab)
5 years in the making: Mental health app for youth and children launches in B.C.

The province provided $1.6-million to fund a virtual care platform

Amazon has announced the creation of five new facilities in B.C., to employ about 2,000 people. (Amazon/Special to Black Press Media)
Amazon adds new facilities in Langley, Pitt Meadows, Delta, Vancouver

The Vancouver port centre will be the first Amazon centre to feature robotics in B.C.

Mahitha Mohan is working in Nelson as a community support worker at Community Connections Support Services. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Immigration pilot targets hard-to-fill jobs in West Kootenay

Program helps newcomers get permanent residency status in rural areas

Most Read